Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rocky Bridges: The Man with the Chaw

I’m not sure if Rocky had a contract with Red Man or what, but I was unable to find a card of his that didn’t feature a big ugly wad of cancer-causing mush distorting his facial features. 

It might simply have been part of his tough guy image though.  About Rocky, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book writes, “Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact, he may have looked more like a ballplayer than any other ballplayer who ever lived.”

I’m a little suspicious however.  The whole image thing seems a little contrived.  In psychology circles, there’s a concept called “overcompensation.”  It’s basically “a strategy whereby one covers up, consciously or unconsciously, weaknesses, frustrations, desires, feelings of inadequacy or incompetence, [leading] to striving for power, dominance, and self-esteem.”  (Psychology Wiki)

Okay, let’s look at the evidence.  First, you’ve got the name.  You’ve got to admit, “Rocky” does sound a lot tougher than “Everett,” even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. 

And let’s not forget that Bridges was 5’8”.  That means middle infield, 16 homers in 2537 plate appearances, and a lifetime slugging percentage of .613. 

So, whatever the deep dark motive behind the lump in his cheek, here he is, Rocky Bridges, the Man with the Chaw …


Very early in his career.  The chaw is restrained, he signs his name “Everett Lamar,” there’s no grimacing at the camera.  Doesn’t look like Rocky’s quite identified his “brand image” just yet.


Very late in his career.  In fact, it’s his last card.  He’s definitely looking like the tough, grizzled veteran in this one.  In fact, Rocky’s starting to look a lot like the career minor-league manager he would become.  Love the smirk!


Not sure why Rocky looks so worried in this one.  His gaze seems to be directed at his mini-me over on the left.  Should I have my butt down more?  Do I look tough enough?  What happened to my crotch? 

More tough guy, but note the hint of a smile.  Aw, he’s just a big puddy tat.

By the way, could there be a more boring card design that this one?  Topps 1957 was definitely not a winner.

Okay, much better.  Here’s the scrappy little bastard we’ve all come to know and love.

I have to admit, though, that neon yellow background is just too much.  Not my favorite design either.


Yup, that’s it.  Quintessential Rocky.  Chaw, mussed-up crewcut (how do you mess up a crewcut?), one eye closed in a kind of pirate look …

That’s it!  Rocky Bridges was a pirate!  Can’t you just hear him saying “Arrgh”?  Give him an eye patch and put a parrot on the guy’s shoulder, fer Pete’s sake!

* - author has this card

Just can't get enough of that brown slimey stuff?  Click here for some more champion chewers from the '50s.


  1. The mini-me card features alternating yellow and white letters for Bridges' name, but not for his team name. Was this feature done for any other sets of cards?

  2. Looking through my Big Book of Baseball Cards (http://reallybadbaseballcards.blogspot.com/2015/01/baseball-cards-love-story.html) tells me that 1960 was the only year they did this. Which makes a lot of sense, as it really does give the cards a circus-y look that probably didn't want to repeat.